Lord finds joy in new art position

Carrying pieces from the storage area to the Harris Art Gallery, Keith Lord, art studio manager, prepares the gallery's latest installation, entitled "Italia: Recent Works by Karin Russo." The colorful collage pieces utilize several media. According to Lord, the dangling "milagros" (miracles) that hang from many of Russo's pieces, are significant. "The milagros are believed to bring good luck," he claims. When he is not installing shows, Lord is supervising the art studio and maintaining the woodshop. In the rare event that he finds free time, Lord enjoys sculpture. / photo by Christie Reed
Carrying pieces from the storage area to the Harris Art Gallery, Keith Lord, art studio manager, prepares the gallery’s latest installation, entitled “Italia: Recent Works by Karin Russo.” The colorful collage pieces utilize several media. According to Lord, the dangling “milagros” (miracles) that hang from many of Russo’s pieces, are significant. “The milagros are believed to bring good luck,” he claims. When he is not installing shows, Lord is supervising the art studio and maintaining the woodshop. In the rare event that he finds free time, Lord enjoys sculpture. / photo by Christie Reed

by Louise Glanzrock
Staff Writer

Art is an expression of oneself and Keith Lord expresses himself everyday through his new position as the full-time art studio manager.

Lord started working at the University of La Verne in September.

Prior to coming to ULV, he was a nuclear operator on a submarine and was an electronic technician in the U.S. Navy. While in the Navy, he traveled to places such as Asia, Africa, Australia and the South Pacific islands.

At the age of 29, Lord went on to complete his undergraduate work at Chico State University, where he got his bachelor’s degree in fine arts. He then went on to graduate school to get his master’s degree in fine arts at the Claremont Graduate School.

Sometime after graduate school, Lord went on to teach an art program for developmentally disabled adults at First Street Gallery and Art Center in the Claremont Village. He found his work there rewarding. According to Lord, the adults are in a workshop where they want to create artwork. They have a variety of physical and mental handicaps.

He also taught independent living skills. He took clients out into the community to teach them how to handle being independent outside of an institutionalized setting.

“It opened my eyes to people with disabilities,” he said of the experience.

It was emotionally tough for him to leave. He still teaches there on Wednesdays. Lord encourages students to visit and view the artwork for sale there.

ULV sought Lord out. He knew George Stone, associate professor of art. He ended up substituting for him one day at ULV and when the position for art studio manager opened, they asked him to be a part of the team.

Lord said he really loves to teach and be associated with a university. According to Lord, he said that before he was in a “controlled” situation and now he is running his own show here, with more responsibility and independence.

“Everyone I’ve met here at La Verne I like. I like the diversity of the students,” Lord said.

Lord’s job as manager does keep him busy.

He does everything from maintaining the wood shop, setting up for classes, arranging models for life drawings, to maintenance and housekeeping. He is also in charge of hanging and taking down pictures in the studio, as well as being the safety officer in the Arts Building on D Street.

In his free time, Lord said he enjoys sculpting with objects that he finds.

For example, he collects dictionaries and makes art work out of them. He calls himself a “sculpture vulture.” He has been selling his art work from the Andrew Shire Gallery in Los Angeles.

As for his long term goals, Lord said, “I see myself as a professor somewhere and this is sort of a step in that direction. Change is good.”

Part of the diversity Lord sees come from the art classes. Most of the students taking art classes are not art majors. They are taking it to fulfill a general education requirement.

“We’re trying to build more of a community feel here at the art department,” he said.

Lord says he wants to stay in Southern California for awhile because he likes what it offers and because of the art and teaching opportunities.

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